Member Spotlight: Bruce Dukov

Bruce Dukov Performs Record 1,900th Motion Picture Score

Bruce Dukov may be the most famous violinist you’ve never heard of — but you definitely have heard him many times.

Since launching his studio career in the 1980s, Bruce has left an indelible mark on the world of film music, as well as in thousands of records and TV shows. His gorgeous and memorable violin solos have been featured in films such as “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Wrongfully Accused,” “Analyze This,” “Batman Forever,” “Addams Family Values,” and in John Williams’ score to “Rosewood.” to name just a few. Last month Bruce reached a landmark achievement when he performed on his 1,900th theatrical motion picture score.

Since he first began working in the studios, following the wise advice of friend and mentor Harry Bluestone, Bruce has maintained a record of every single theatrical motion picture session on which he works. “The other day when I entered my latest session, I went to the very bottom and saw the number 1,899 and went, ‘Oh my god!’ Last week I worked on ‘Dear Santa,’ a cute comedy starring Jack Black with music by Rupert Gregson-Williams, and I knew that was going to be my 1,900th theatrical motion picture.”

In addition to his extensive theatrical motion picture work, he has performed on thousands of TV shows and hundreds of records with diverse artists from Sinatra and Streisand, to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Sisqo, on whose hit “The Thong Song” Bruce plays the violin solos. He also held the prestigious position of concertmaster from the inception of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in 1991 until 2008, lending his unique artistic touch to many memorable performances.

A point of pride for Bruce is that all of his work has been performed under union contract.

“I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve always been able to work on union dates,” he said. “You’ll be offered dark dates, and I always say don’t do them — you’ll be paid up front, sure, but in the long run you’ll be cheating yourself out of any re-use payments, which can be quite lucrative.”

Remarking on the importance of keeping track of session work, Bruce said that it helps him notice any anomalies if a particular session is overlooked to receive secondary market payments or re-uses. “I’ve called the union a few times giving a heads up. This happened with a song I did called ‘The Thong Song.’ I was watching a TV show and there was the song, and a few months later I got a check. It’s good to keep track of these things.”

Bruce continues to record in the studios as well as perform live, and has just embarked on a new project: an on-demand online teaching course. “Now, as I’m in a more relaxed stage in my career, finally I decided to make a course based on one of my strengths as a violinist, which is the left-hand technique,” he said. “I’ve developed Bruce Dukov’s STRAD method – which is an acronym for ‘Shortcuts To Rapid Arpeggio Domination.’ It’s an online course on how to strengthen your fingers, and you’ll notice an almost immediate improvement if these exercises are applied.” The course is designed to assist highly advanced violinists in attaining tremendous power and security in their performance of the ubiquitous arpeggio. More information can be found on his website here.

Bruce has a penchant for creating virtuoso versions of pieces like “Happy Birthday” and “Stars and Stripes Forever” for violin duet. Especially unique is his duet based on the “Fanfare Rebel Theme” from “Star Wars” performed on lightsaber bows.

“I’m so thrilled to be part of this phenomenal business, no matter how anonymous it is,” Bruce said. “When you enter the scoring stage, leave your ego behind!”

Click here to view Bruce Dukov’s video bio by Caroline Campbell.